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Stephan Savoia/AP

December 11, 2014

The costs of solar energy are plummeting, and now are about on par with the electricity generated at big power plants. This new reality intensifies a long-running business and regulatory battle, between the mainline electric utility companies and newer firms that provide solar systems for homeowners' rooftops. Sometimes the rivalry looks more like hardball politics than marketplace economics.

Solar Energy Lab

December 04, 2014

In 1954, a highly accomplished 65-year-old chemistry professor named Farrington Daniels “sought solace in the sun, the poor man’s atomic power plant,” according, that is, to his wife Olive. Her 1978 biography, Farrington Daniels: Chemist and Prophet of the Solar Age, paints a vivid picture of Daniels’ vision of spreading solar energy research from Madison to the world.

At a time when few, if any, voiced concerns about meeting future energy demands with fossil fuels, this vision was unusual indeed.

Paul Meier

November 20, 2014

In June of 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its first ever guidelines for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants. Called the Clean Power Plan, it proposes cutting carbon pollution in the power sector by 30 percent from 2005 emission levels by 2030.

Due to the highly variable nature of the U.S. energy system, the Clean Power Plan frames the power sector’s carbon pollution as a problem best solved by implementing an array of local, state-based solutions. What those regional solutions will be is the topic of ongoing discussion.

November 18, 2014

As the installation of photovoltaic solar cells continues to accelerate, scientists are looking for inexpensive materials beyond the traditional silicon that can efficiently convert sunlight into electricity.

November 15, 2014

It's called the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, but the state's oldest venture conference — launched in Madison 30 years ago — has taken on a decidedly Upper Midwest look.

Investors, entrepreneurs, speakers and other visitors from beyond Wisconsin's borders were among the 560 people who attended the two-day conference, which is primarily a pitch event for emerging companies. Still largely a Wisconsin show, the event's appeal to people from other states spreads the word that the Badger State economy boasts more than beer, brats and bovines.

November 14, 2014

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank doesn’t have much patience for talk about any academic rivalries between UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee. 

“We have to get past this whole discussion about competition between these two cities,” she said during a panel discussion at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, held Wednesday and Thursday at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison. 

November 07, 2014

A new professional master's program will launch at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in fall 2015 and become the first in the world specifically designed to train analytically minded students to evaluate energy efficiency and other resource-conservation initiatives.

Mike Arnold. Photo by David Nevala

November 06, 2014

When Mike Arnold thinks about solar energy, he thinks big, as in the “more than one-hundred-million-billion watts of sunlight that the Earth continuously bathes in.” But he also thinks very, very small, exploring how a one-billionth-of-a-meter thick carbon-based nanomaterial could dramatically reduce the price of producing electricity with solar cells.

Michael Corradini

November 05, 2014

CONTACT: Joshua Morby, (414) 791-9120, jmorby@m-werc.org

MADISON – The Mid-west Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) board of directors appointed University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of engineering physics and Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) director Michael Corradini chairman during their October meeting. Corradini succeeds MaryAnn Wright of Johnson Controls as chair.

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